Scientific Name: Hyla cinera
Classification: Nongame species
Abundance: Found primarily in Coastal Plain (blue)
Photo by Jodie Owen
The green treefrog is relatively large, slender and usually bright green (but sometimes olive or brownish) with large toe pads and a white belly. Most individuals have scattered orange or gold flecks on the back and a clearly defined ivory or yellow strip along the upper jaw and the side. Although their range is expanding into many parts of the Piedmont, green treefrogs are found primarily in the Coastal Plain, where they can be extremely abundant along wetland margins and in swamps. During the day, green treefrogs hide under waterside vegetation or in other moist, shady areas. At night, they forage for flying insects, often performing acrobatic maneuvers as they jump from branch to branch.
They breed from April to September. Egg masses are attached to vegetation at or near the water's surface. Tadpoles transform in about eight weeks.
Herpetologists (biologists who study reptiles and amphibians) have found that this species and other treefrogs will occupy PVC pipes that are placed around wetlands. This method has been used to monitor populations of treefrogs in North Carolina.
The green treefrog is classified as a nongame species with no open season. It is unlawful for any person to take, or have in possession, any nongame mammal or bird unless that person has a collection license or is collecting fewer than 5 reptiles or fewer than 25 amphibians that are not endangered, threatened, or special concerned species.
There are no reported problems with this species.
Frogs and toads can be monitored fairly easily in a variety of ways. One way is through frog call monitoring. The North Carolina Calling Amphibian Survey Program attempts to do just that by corralling data collected by volunteers across the state that monitors specific frog call routes. Each species of frog and toad has a unique call that is distinguishable from others. Some are more difficult for humans to separate than others, but the frogs know who’s who! Learn your frog calls, and you too can distinguish who’s calling in the ponds. Another way to monitor frogs and toads is by looking for egg masses deposited in wetlands and/or by looking for tadpoles in those same wetlands. Different frogs breed at different times of the year, so when to look for eggs is dependent on the species of interest. Eggs typically hatch within a couple weeks of being deposited, so there is a fairly short window for detection. Frog eggs can sometimes be identified to family, but are somewhat tricky to identify to species level. Tadpole identification can be similarly tricky, so learning and listening to frog calls is definitely the easiest method for determining what frogs and toads are using a wetland. Tadpoles are a little easier to monitor, as most species have tadpoles present in wetlands for longer periods of time. This is, again, variable by species. Most species have tadpole stages that last at least several months, but the range in timing for different species is everything from a couple of weeks to several years. The smaller frog and toad species tend to have shorter tadpole cycles, while the larger frogs and toads tend to have longer times to metamorphosis.
Wildlife Diversity Program Quarterly Reports
Green treefrog (Photo by Jodie Owen)
Treefrog using PVC pipe (Photo by Jodie Owen)
The call of a green treefrog is a loud, monotonic, nasal "queenk, queenk, queenk," which can be heard from a wide variety of wetland habitats, from lake and river margins to ephemeral pools. From a distance, large congregations of green treefrogs sound like cowbells ringing.